Dave Reynolds welcomes the newest member of the ABR long term family…
Back in the 90s when I was still competing in motorcycle trials, I entered a few trials in France, Germany and Belgium. They were great fun and gave me a few opportunities to take the trail bike over on a trailer and have some fun trail riding in countries far less restricting than the good old UK.
After a few trips to these countries, including Spain, I decided it would be better to ride there rather than transporting the bike on a trailer. I didn’t fancy riding my 250 trailie that far, so it was time to look for a suitable bike, something that could cover a distance but still be capable of coping with the trails.
Yes, you guessed it, I bought a Yamaha XTZ 750 Super Ténéré. Off I went to Spain with a few pals, some of whom were riding Africa Twins. My head was turned, and I flogged the Ténéré on my return and bought an Africa Twin RD04 followed by an RD07A a few months later.
During a weak moment, and encouraged by my missus, I swapped the AT for a BMW GS, the reason being more room for her ladyship when touring as a couple. Flying forward a few years, Honda announced they were reviving the Africa Twin but, addressing some of the old model’s shortcomings.
Don’t get me wrong, the Africa Twin was a fabulous bike, proven by its continued popularity with long-distance travellers. While I wear spectacles these days, they’re not rose tinted.
So here we are in 2018, walking around our new long-term Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Adventure Sports. An upgrade from 2016’s revived model, a bit more fuel capacity (24.2 litres instead of the standard 18.9 litres), a 300-mile range is possible and less time filling up more time riding, with a few more changes to enhance the Africa Twin experience.
And applause to Honda for the livery. The 2016 model’s tri-colour brought back the decor scheme from the days of the Dakar Rally, but the Adventure Sports’ get-up is even more stunning, vibrant and aesthetic.
Our long-term test bike has the Honda DCT gearbox, which is basically automatic but done in a much more sophisticated way. So, there’s no clutch or conventional gear levers fitted.
So, suited and booted it was time for my first ride. It’s not the first time I’ve tried a DCT model Honda, but this one will be doing its duties as a day-to-day ride rather than a brief test. It’s bit of a climb to get on, the Adventure Sports is a little taller than the earlier model, having a seat height of 920mm over 870mm.
I’ve put a few miles on it just going about my normal stuff. The jury’s out on whether I prefer a manual box than the DCT, I’ve always had an open mind to new technology, so I’m more than happy for the bike to convince me it’s what I need. I’m off to Ireland for a few days riding soon, with the missus as a pillion and full luggage.
This will be a good test for the DCT, and a great opportunity to see how the bike performs on a multi-day tour – I suspect it’ll handle it with flying colours.